Doing it TO you vs. Doing FOR themselves
When we feel slighted we lose track of an important distinction: Doing to you vs. doing for themselves. People rarely are doing something to someone as much as they are doing something for themselves. Even when someone attacks another, it is often in response to feeling attacked. It is a defense. This distinction is critical. It helps us to realize that even personal attacks cannot be taken so personally. Instead, they can be seen in the context of the other person’s state. When this is the case, it is possible to see beyond the attack, to see that the other person is responding out of his or her own need. In our higher moments, we can often move outside of ourselves and recognize the impact of our actions and responses. But in the midst of stress, this rarely is the case. Our most natural response is self=preservation. This creates the position of acting FOR (in defense of) ourselves. While we can move beyond this on a conscious basis, it may be important to remember that just because people CAN move beyond themselves, they may not do so in any given situation. When we feel slighted, it is important to understand the distinction between TO US, which hurts us, and FOR THEMSELVES, which requires understanding of the other person. Okay, so now your understanding may be shifting. When you feel attacked or hurt, you may now begin to recognize the fact that the other is responding from their own reality. You may recognize it is truly about them. Does that mean you excuse the behavior? NO! It merely means you understand the behavior for what it is. You can still hold that person accountable for the behavior. The implication is that people really are doing the best they can, where they are. People are rarely as mean-spirited as we make them. Their actions may seem mean-spirited to us, but often have another interpretation for them. The meaning for them is likely to be far more benign than that which we assign. We are also left with a clear understanding that we all live from our worldview. We respond in protective ways to ourselves. This helps us nurture a more compassionate view of the other person. The other person can be held accountable for their actions, while also being seen as innocent. What a paradox!